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Issue 2 - Down with collectors

Whisky Magazine Issue 2
March 1999


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Down with collectors

John D Lamond laments the rise of whisky collectors- unnatural creatures who should be forced to drink the stuff, and preferably share it with him.

There is one thing which I find very hard to accept and that is the collecting of full bottles of whisky. Collecting them solely, in other words, in order that they can sit on a shelf and be admired by the collector and other like-minded souls. Or, even worse, collecting them with a view to making a profit on them; trading in them as if they were an essential commodity like oil, wheat, coffee or chocolate. People in the whisky industry make whisky of the finest quality, fine-tuning their expertise of barley, temperature and the reaction between the worts and the yeast to produce the finest possible spirit for drinking. The emphasis here is on the word ‘drinking'. They don't make spirit for stripping paint off doors, nor for preserving human organs, nor for disinfecting wounds. Whisky is a gregarious spirit, and these alchemists make it for drinking.

If whisky was made as a collectible it would not matter what was in the bottle, as long as it looked like the real thing: cold tea, caramelised water, gin and Fisherman's Friends, whatever. If such were the case, the packaging designers and marketeers would be the most important individuals on a company's staff, and the distillers and blenders of this world would be inconsequential. In 1986 a friend rang me to inform me of the imminence of a Christie's auction that contained a large quantity of Scotch whisky. My initial reaction was one of disbelief that anyone would be prepared to pay the prices quoted in the catalogue.


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